We Are Never Getting Back Together (Tuesday)

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by Hannah Alford

“Everybody makes mistakes” in the wise words of Hannah Montana in her song “Nobody’s Perfect”, but God doesn’t want those mistakes to hold you back, no, instead bring yourself to Lord and realize that every mistake can be a part of God’s path for you. Psalm 119: 25-29 states “I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word. I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds. My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law.” By owning up to your missteps and humbling yourself before the Lord, you can begin to understand God’s mercy and understanding. Even Jesus’s disciples made mistakes! Doubt, unfaithfulness, lying, acting against your neighbors; these are all sins, and everyone one of us have committed these. But by realizing them and learning by them, your relationship with God can strengthen. Human’s were made to be imperfect from from Eve first ate the apple, but God still loves us and forgives us, and when we finally begin to learn from our mistakes we begin to learn of God’s glory too!

We Are Never Getting Back Together (Monday)

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By Ruth Hallstead

Nobody likes to talk or even think about sin. We prefer to talk about love, grace, peace and other warm feelings; yet sin is always there, and we often fall prey to its temptation. In college, far from our parents, it’s easier than ever to fall into bad habits. We no longer have someone watching our every move, and we have more free time than ever before. Friends and roommates might encourage unhealthy behaviors, or it may simply be the devil on our shoulder tempting us. The good news, of course, is that God forgives each and every one of us, no matter what. Despite knowing this, it can still feel pretty awful when we make the same mistake or give in to the same temptation for the umpteenth time.  It’s hard to feel deserving of unconditional forgiveness when we’re stuck in a seemingly unending cycle. How can God possibly take us back again when we clearly can’t be trusted to change? Thankfully (for too many reasons to count), God is not Taylor Swift, and no matter how many times we “say we need space (what?)”, or swear that we’ll change yet only last a day; we are always and forever getting back together with God. He will welcome us back no matter what. Psalm 103.12 reminds us that “as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us.” There is no limit to how many times our sins can be removed and He doesn’t care how far we’ve tried to flee from Him. When we give our sins to Him, he takes them so far away that we cannot possibly fathom the distance, and welcomes us back with open arms. We are worthy of forgiveness because God says we are—no questions asked, no limitations, end of story!

Purpose (Friday)

by Olivia Ledbetter

Ephesians 3:14-19

“14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a]in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

So often, college feels like a mad scramble to discover what your purpose is. Yikes — what a daunting prospect. I have little panics about once every other week, doubting if I’m doing the right things and if I’m doing them fast enough and well enough. Living between the panics feels so normal for a college student, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s the good news: you are uniquely qualified and valuable exactly where you are right now, even if you don’t know where you’re going. Ephesians talks of a love that surpasses knowledge. Understanding and sharing the love of Christ is more powerful and more important than having it all figured out. Your purpose? To love.

One more reminder: that love extends to yourself too. Have some grace for yourself on this journey. I can forget this self-love so often, and oddly, when I am lacking grace for myself I am also less able to extend it to others. Knowledge of God’s love and laws is important. Knowledge of your own path is helpful. But love? That is something to value even more. Rest in the truth that He knows your heart and your path, even when you feel like you don’t.

Purpose (Thursday)

Sometimes my days start to feel a little monotonous.  Go to class, jump over to work, meetings, homework maybe watch some Netflix with my roommates.  All boring day to day things that are in pursuit of success in the future – a good and important thing.  But, that mindset of future preparedness often makes me forget to ask about the now.  As I was reading Esther for last week’s devo, another part that really struck me was chapter 4 verse 14, where Mordecai says to Esther, “Who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this?”  If you read last week or know the story, you know that Esther’s position happened to be as a queen and that she used it to save the Jews, but if you boil that down to the basics, Esther simply realized that her day-to-day was important in the “now.”  Esther’s purpose was to serve the Lord and though that didn’t play out through her becoming a prophet, God shows us how each and every one of us can play an important role in His story.  So, this week I end with a challenge: look around and ask yourself where has God placed me for “a time such as this?” How can I be more in tune with the plans of the Lord?  He has embedded purpose in every single one of our day to day lives, it’s just after us to go after it.

Purpose (Wednesday)

by Emily Thurston

Ephesians 2:10

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

A question on the forefront of many of our minds as we make the trek through college is what our God-given purpose is. We rush into situations in order to fulfill our own agendas. Instead, we should be letting the professional do the work. Ephesians 2:10 describes us as God’s masterpieces. He is the artist who has honed the craft of creation. He is intentional in placing us in this world in the capacity that we each occupy. He sees where each of us is best suited to further his kingdom on earth. God planned out each of our futures before our great-grandparents were even a figment of some distant relative’s imagination. He knew our exact purpose and the good we would do on this earth in his name. He even placed a role model in Christ on this planet to help us follow the example into our preordained positions in life. As an artist, God’s vision is all that matters and it is up to each of us to realize what he meant for us. It is not our job to create a new interpretation or reinvent the wheel. He did all the heavy lifting. He stretched the canvas and placed every stroke with care. He picked the precise color palette and blended new and unique shades. He even sat and watched every drop of paint dry due to his never-ending grace and love. All of that effort speaks to a creator who wants the absolute best for us and nothing less. So he has carved out a crevice for each of us to fill in order to most efficiently be displayed as his work of art. What will be the title of your portrait in God’s gallery?

Purpose (Tuesday)

by Hannah Alford

Everyone is in college for a reason right? Whether or not you know what your purpose is yet there’s one person who already knows, and that’s God! Each and every one of us can impact campus in our own unique way. One of my favorite verses from 1 Timothy is 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Often times I asked myself, what can I do to serve God? I’m too young, or too inexperienced, basically a lot of excuses, but, what this verse tells me is that even as college students we can fulfill God’s purpose and set an example for our friends, family, and fellow classmates. Be the children of God that provide a light for everyone on campus to gravitate towards, and with that light show God’s love in everything you do. Remember that God loves everyone, even the people who can’t see his love, can feel it through you. As a freshman on campus I’m still testing the waters, my purpose seems so far ahead in the future it’s hard to think about sometimes, but I know that as Paul wrote in his letters, it’s not just up to the adults to share God’s word, but it’s our job too!